Surveying the NFL landscape from 30,000 feet (in a plane with 118 passengers and two restrooms) …
cWe begin with - who else? - the Redskins. Other than the victory itself, what might be most significant about their close shave against the Seahawks is that it came on the road. Let’s face it, if they make the playoffs it will be as a wild card, and that means going to Carolina, Arizona, Minnesota … wherever. Barring an unusual set of circumstances, they won’t be seeing FedEx Field again after Week 17.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Redskins, after all, figure to finish with a better road record than home record, and there are a number of examples in recent years of clubs taking the road route to the Super Bowl. The Giants did it last season and the Steelers two seasons before that. Seems like it should be a more daunting task, winning three road games in the playoffs, but lately it hasn’t been.
Maybe it’s another indication of how little difference there is between these teams. Or maybe it’s a total fluke and won’t happen again for a long while. Still, winning at Dallas, Philadelphia and Seattle (a notoriously noisy and difficult place to play) can only give the Redskins confidence if they make it to January.
— You have to feel better about the Snydermen’s chances now that Jason Taylor and Shawn Springs have returned from their injuries. Both gave the defense a boost Sunday - Taylor with his pass rush and first-quarter tackle for a loss and Springs with his typically tight coverage and game-clinching interception.
You look at the Redskins’ secondary with Carlos Rogers and Fred Smoot at the corners, Springs and LaRon Landry at the safeties and DeAngelo Hall and Chris Horton in reserve and, well, is there a deeper one in the league?
— Some will note that the Redskins had to play the Cowboys when they had Tony Romo and the Seahawks when they had Matt Hasselbeck - while the Bucs, who they’re competing with for a postseason berth, went up against Brad Johnson and Seneca Wallace.
But … the Redskins have faced one team that’s now 0-11 (Lions), two that are 2-9 (Rams and Seahawks), they’ve played the weakest of the NFC South clubs (Saints) and they have the 1-9-1 Bengals still to come. So it’s not like they got a bum deal from the schedule maker.
— You thought Brett Favre was a good story last season? He’s an even better one this season. Where are all those killjoys who said Favre should have done the classy/dignified/Elwayesque thing and stayed retired? I mean, the guy has the Jets closing in on a first-round bye - and possibly on their first Super Bowl since Joe Namath.
Then there’s the domino effect of him getting traded to New York. It enabled Chad Pennington to go to Miami, where he has been an absolute salvation for a team that went 1-15 a year ago.
Lastly, any quarterback who keeps Kellen Clemens on the bench is aces in my book.
— Just wondering: Have the Giants (29.9) and Jets (29.4) ever been the top two scoring clubs in the NFL? Like I said, I’m stuck on a plane, so I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
— Let’s have no more talk about the Lions being the worst team in NFL history, even if they do finish 0-16. Heck, they’re not even the worst team in Lions history.
That booby prize goes to the 1942 contingent, which went 0-11 and scored a grand total of 38 points. How bad were they? They led only four times all season - 7-3 (vs. the Packers), 7-0 (vs. the Steelers), 7-0 again (vs. the Cleveland Rams) and 3-0 (vs. the Redskins). They wound up losing those games by a combined score of 115-24.
Trust me, you have no idea how utterly horrific teams could be in the early days, when the word “parity” had yet to be uttered (never mind the terms “luxury box” or “club seat”).